Mini gun to lure female UK cops
MEMBERS of Scotland Yard’s elite bodyguard unit are being armed with smaller, lighter “baby” guns as part of a drive to attract more female officers.
The move is aimed at recruiting bodyguards with smaller hands. However, critics fear it could hamper the close protection officers who guard the Queen, the Prime Minister and other VIPs if they have to fend off an attack.
“It’s a disadvantage because the smaller guns have less firepower and are less accurate,” said a police firearms expert.
Supporters deny the Yard is putting political correctness before security by trying to recruit women.
They say the change is part of a legitimate attempt by the Metropolitan police chiefs to reflect the community better. [You mean that “reflecting the community better” is not political correctness?]
Others believe the move underlines the explosion of a “diversity agenda” that began in the 1990s and was led by a new breed of police chiefs who thought the traditional force was too male-dominated.
The trend to bring more women into the police was reinforced last week when British Prime Minister David Cameron was seen jogging with a female protection officer.
Historically, the standard-issue weapon of the Met’s specialist and royalty protection units is the Glock 17, a semiautomatic pistol fed with 17 rounds of ammunition.
The self-loading pistol has a magazine that is double-stacked in a zigzag formation and requires a wide gun butt.
The replacement weapon for women officers and those with smaller hands is believed to be the “sub-compact” version, the Glock 26.
Marketed by its Austrian manufacturer as the “Baby Glock”, the gun has a single magazine with 10 bullets and therefore requires a smaller butt.
The Glock 26’s barrel is just under 9cm long, more than 2.5cm shorter than that of the Glock 17. This makes it a less accurate weapon, particularly at longer range.
In a firefight, officers using the “Baby Glock” would have to stop shooting and reload their weapon more frequently than those with the bigger gun.
Details of the new guns were disclosed by John Bunn, a senior detective in the Yard’s counter-terrorism command, to the Metropolitan Police Authority, the force’s watchdog.
Noting “considerable improvements” in the work of SO1, the specialist protection unit, Mr Bunn wrote in a report: “A diversity forum and work strands following best Metropolitan police service practice have been established, for example changing the type of firearm used to accommodate smaller hands, changes in recruitment advertising, female-only insight days and mentoring for under-represented groups expressing an interest in SO1.”
Peter Waddington, an expert in police firearms, said the new weapons delivered less firepower but denied the move was driven by political correctness.
“People with smaller hands find it difficult to grasp the butt of a regular-size self-loading pistol,” Professor Waddington said.
“The double-stacked magazine is broader, and … women find this more than a handful. They cannot grip the weapon properly and therefore fix their aim. So they can’t shoot … like a big man is able to.”